August 27, 2008 at 6:17 pm #10958
I’m busy putting together the Bell Collectors of the British Isles display for the Ringing Roadshow in Warwickshire, and have decided to put some information about each of the bells we will have on display.
I am having difficulty trying to locate any information about the company which produced my ‘Josef’ bells. Can anyone help?
August 29, 2008 at 4:43 am #14070Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
I just did a search for Josef Originals and found this at http://www.misterfindit.com/JosefOriginals.html.
As written (6/11/2003) © Mister Find IT
In 1942 Muriel Joseph, of Arcadia, California, had been making and selling lucite jewelry under the name of “Muriel of California”. World War II caused the price of lucite to be un-affordable, even to Muriel. Muriel then converted her skills to making ceramic figurines. In 1945, working out of their basement and garage, Muriel and her fiance’ Tom began their own pottery business. Their printer had misspelled the name from Joseph to Josef on their label. Since they had no time to fix the error, the name Josef Originals became the name of the new company.
Muriel enjoyed sculpting children and people the most, and did many little girls, pixie children, and animals of all kinds. In the early 50’s Muriel discovered that cheap reproductions of her earlier pieces were being made in Japan. Many people took the Japan copies as Josef Originals, and Muriel fought back by making some very beautiful detailed pieces. Her hope was that the new pieces would not be so easy to copy. However the newer, more expensive pieces, along with the Japan reproductions really hurt their business.
In 1954 Muriel & Tom met Mr. Good, a man who convinced them that if they made their figurines in Japan, it would greatly reduce their expenses. They continued to make Josef Originals in California, until 1960 when they opened a factory in Japan, and began operations by the name of “George Good Corporation”. The name of their new partner & Muriel’s new married name (Muriel Joseph George). For six weeks Muriel was in Japan, teaching workers how she wanted things done. After that she would create the designs at home, drawings and instructions were sent to the factory, and pieces were sent back for her approval. With the factory producing the finished product, this left Muriel free to create to her hearts content, and she put her heart into every piece she created.
In 1981 Muriel retired, though she continued to create new Josef Original designs until 1985. George Good bought the company in 1982, and sold it in 1985 to Southland Corporation. The Josef Original name now belongs to Applause, Inc, who has made no new designs, but produce a limited number of pieces that bear the Josef Original name, including the Birthday Girl series. Muriel passed away in 1992, but lives on through her many creations.
The most collectible pieces are those that were made during the ownership of Muriel. Most are signed, have a high gloss finish, black eyes,
(Brown eyes from 1982 to 1985) they are usually marked on the bottom with incising “Josef Originals” or black pallet type stamp. Also look for the “C” in a circle on underglazed bottoms. The earlier figurines have a black oval sticker – with gold or silver letters stating “Josef Originals, California. Later (1960 – 1980) California was substituted with a “curly cue” and an additional small black sticker reading “Japan” in script. The earliest pieces bear the name “M.J. George.” Most pieces are worth around $30.00 to $50.00, with a few worth $125 – $150.00. Because these pieces break easily, and glue together without much trace of the break, one should view the piece under a black light before buying or selling.
Applause produced many pieces with red-brown eyes, matt finishes, marked with paper labels, and the animals have a flocked coat.
Most collectors do not want the brown eyed pieces, the red-brown eyes, pieces that were produced in Taiwan, Korea and Mexico (1970 until an unknown time), or the reproductions from Japan.
© 2003 Mister Find IT
Hope this helps!
August 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm #14071
Thanks a bunch for this information I really appreciate it. When I searched I had no success, guess I didn’t use the right search engine. 😆
August 29, 2008 at 2:05 pm #14072Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
I use a search engine called dogpile.com. It’s not a very pretty name but it’s a great search engine. Their website explains:
If you had a choice between a single-person search party, or a search team of half-a-dozen, which would you choose? Yep, us too. Why not put six search engines to work on something in the same time it takes to use one? This is what we call metasearch. Dogpile puts the power all the leading search engines together in one search box to deliver the best combined results. The process is more efficient and yields more relevant results. Look, say what you will, but our time was important to us too. So, we had an idea to bring together the Web’s best search engines in one place and deliver the most comprehensive and relevant results, and metasearch was born. The solution is an efficient, single-search-box engine that makes things easier for all of us. Especially when you learn that our special technology removes duplicates and analyzes the results to ensure the best results are always on top of the pile.
Oh, and the name Dogpile?
Well, that’s a funny story. You see, we love Rugby. It’s traditional in Rugby for players to come together and pile on one another. This is exactly what Dogpile metasearch does-it brings together the best results from the Internet’s top search engines, including Google, Yahoo! Search, Live Search, Ask.com, About, MIVA, LookSmart, and more.
Also, I did not search for Josef bells. I searched for Josef Originals because that name popped into my head. I must have seen a label or a display that gave that name. Josef Originals was at the top of the pile!
Glad to be of help!
September 1, 2008 at 9:40 pm #14073Sue MooreParticipant
Teddy Skattum talked briefly about Josef Original bells in her program at convention in Denver. That’s where I learned the difference between the black eyes and the brown eyes. It helps to narrow my search for the bells with the black eyes.
September 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm #14074
Thanks for your message Sue, unfortunately I missed Teddy’s presentation at Denver, probably a case of trying to be in 2 places at the same time 😆
I was aware of the black eyed girls being the more collectible, and although I only have 5 of the Joseph Originals each one does have black eyes. I was interested in getting some background information about the company, and fortunately Carolyn has come up trumps.
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